After more than a year of surviving a pandemic, there was only remote work, but now many employers are starting to reopen their offices but workers have mixed feelings.
Some are relishing the idea of coming back to the office, collaborating with colleagues in person, and swapping their makeshift home office to a dedicated workspace, yet some are feeling more cautious about jumping back into normal life.
Whether you’re returning to your office full time or it’s just a few days per week, the disruption to your comfortable daily routine can make you feel very nervous right now. There are many apprehensions that now all of a sudden, you’ll be forced to interact with far more people than usual, whether you will be able to adjust your schedule in a jiffy or not.
However, there are a few benefits to it as well like rebuilding social life and connections. This will also curb your loneliness. Getting back to the office may also increase your productivity as there would be no distractions and a firmer boundary between work and home life.
The main aim is to just lessen the stress that comes along with changes in the pattern of work. Here are some ways that can help:
Taking it day by day
It’s normal to feel social anxiety when you think about going back to the office, as you have adjusted to the new normal, and now when you get back to work, you have to interact socially. Opting for a gradual approach to socializing can help ease the transition.
Start by connecting with individuals or smaller groups of people first before moving on to interactions with the entire team. You even have to work on building your support network at work again and specifically prioritize spending time with coworkers who are supportive and also who get along well with you.
You can even plan to have meetings in person outside of work or a casual coffee break while working to connect with them.
Converse with your boss openly
When taking things gradually and also looking at the atmosphere how things are turning out to be as everything is so unpredictable, you can even opt to talk it out with your boss.
Talk to your boss to see if you can continue clocking in remotely—at least deciding for a portion of the week. This can maintain some flexibility if it has been working for you. You can start by saying that you feel you are more productive when you don’t have to commute and it also saves time.
Be high on self-care
Even as you work to make the transition easier, returning to the office may get you feeling overwhelmed at times. Practicing self-care can help you cope with the stress of change. Once you eventually start getting into the routine, it will get easier to cope with everyday challenges. You can start getting hold of that routine a week beforehand to allow a smoother transition. It is essential to follow a healthy routine with timely meals, consistent sleep timings and relaxation time. You also have to include and set aside breaks at work at regular intervals to de-stress and rejuvenate yourself during work hours.
Stock up with things that would help you relieve stress, such as a stress ball, calming diffusers, your favorite snacks or maybe framed photos of your loved ones.
None of us knows what the new, “new normal” will look like. Going through the pandemic, still, in the face of uncertainty, one can practice self-care, prioritize wellness, and also try moving at own pace.
Be mindful of your anxieties and also be there for others with grace and compassion as they figure out their way to move forward. If we handle this period well, our transition back to 'normal' life has the potential to be a tremendous learning experience.